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I turned on Kent’s favorite jazz to play in the background while we ate, swapping bites from each other’s plates.
“How’ve you been, baby?” he asked, feeding me the last bite of dessert.
I licked the cannoli cream from his thumb, barely holding back my gloating smile when he groaned. “Good. Carina is keeping me busy.”
“She told me you’re handling it all like a seasoned professional.”
“Of course I am,” I responded with confidence. Once I discovered my passion for design after working as an intern at Kent’s hotel, I dove headfirst into becoming the best. When Carina offered me a job after graduation, I’d jumped all over it. She’d been starting up a new venture within her family’s company, and I wanted every part of it. And once I decided on what I wanted, I went after it with a passion, not settling until I got it—which I did.
At least, I usually got what I wanted.
On cue, a dull wave of pain cramped in my abdomen, reminding me that I didn’t always get what I wanted.
Ignoring the ache, I forced a heavy sigh. “If only Carina would have put me on the Chicago project, then I could go with you every time you leave,” I complained with fake dramatics. “But nooooo. We have to give our top tier projects to the lead marketers.”
“I’d much rather have you helping me set up the new hotel than Mark,” Kent laughed.
“It’s probably for the best. With Mark, Carina doesn’t have to worry about the construction workers finding you guys fucking during work hours like she would if I was there,” I joked. “At least, I hope not.”
Kent winced. “I meeeeeeean…”
“Alexander Kent,” I scolded, throwing my napkin at his chest.
He released a deep, rumbling growl. “You know what that does to me when you call me that, Olivia.”
“I do.”
My husband was the laid-back guy that always had a smile. If you looked up work hard and play harder, you’d find his picture beside it. He liked to go with the flow—except with me. With me, he liked control. He liked to torture and spank and push me past my limits. He liked watching me cross the line for him.
And me? I liked to make him work for it. He knew I’d do anything for him, but he also knew I was a strong-headed woman that rarely obeyed without a fight. So, on our wedding night, I’d knelt for him with my legs spread and palms up. I’d dropped my head in submission and used my own version of ‘Sir.’
Everyone called him by his last name, including me. Unless I was gifting him with my submission—then I called him by his given name.
Lately, work kept pulling him away, and I struggled to recall the last time I said it. We fucked every chance we got, but there was something different about the nights he dominated me.
“I miss you,” I confessed.
He looked away with a heavy sigh. “I miss you too, baby. I know it’s busy, but it won’t always be.”
I knew that, but it didn’t make it easier. He’d been in Chicago more than he’d been home, preparing to open another hotel. While I tried to stay focused on how proud I was of him and remember how much he exhausted himself to be with me when he could, I still missed him, especially lately, with each month bringing another period. And every period pulling me into a mix of emotions I didn’t feel equipped to deal with.
It sat on the tip of my tongue to say something—to unload the wave of feelings that tore at me since we decided to go off birth control last year. I knew he’d comfort me and hold my hand as I faced a new challenge of not being able to control my future and get what I wanted. He’d be mature and tell me what to do. He’d help me carry the load. Instead, I shoved it back, wanting to enjoy our night.
A small voice whispered in the back of my mind that maybe I didn’t want to talk, so I didn’t have to give voice to anything I perceived as failure, but I blocked it out, denying it. We made it a point to be open and honest with each other, communicating even when it was hard. It had nothing to do with me feeling like the f-word. No, it had everything to do with wanting to give us time to savor each other first.
Later. I’d talk to him later.
“Good. Otherwise, I’d have to kidnap you if you stayed away for too long.”
“Oh, no,” he deadpanned.
“And I’m sure Mark is doing a good job,” I conceded with a dramatic eye roll.
As expected, Kent laughed. “So, work is good. Now tell me about everything else. How was your week? I feel like we kept missing each other’s phone calls.”